With a projected R12 million Pick 6 carryover pool and plenty to play for on the season championships front, the World Pool Gold Cup day on Sunday July 30 features our premier staying event together with four Gr1 events, including the HKJC Champions Cup, which is of high importance this year because it will have a big influence on the Equus Horse Of The Year award.
The Gr3 World Pool Gold Cup has attracted a full field of 15 and among them is the Sean Tarry-trained three-year-old Futura gelding, Future Pearl, who will be attempting to emulate the 2017 feat of Hermoso Mundo by landing the unofficial stayers triple crown.
He has won both the WSB Gold Bowl over 3200m and the DSTV Gold Vase over 3000m, so can make it a third “Gold” staying race next Sunday.
The big bay relishes soft ground and is the current favourite. He will be ridden by Richard Fourie and is well drawn in three.
Two former winners are in the line-up, Shangani and Nebraas, and they have drawn well in six and seven respectively. Hong Kong-based Lyle Hewitson rode Nebraas to victory two years ago and is reunited with him here.
The big striding Senso Unico will want a good pace and if getting it can make an impact from draw two. Arumugam, owned by Durbanite Stephen Chetty, is trained by masterful trainer of stayers Weiho Marwing and has drawn four, but is considerably under sufferance at the weights.
Fight Song and Sea Master represent Gold Cup-winning trainer of 2020, Gareth van Zyl, and have drawn five and 12. They are also under sufferance.
Black Thorn made a cracking comeback in the Splashout 2200 and represents Mike de Kock. He has always struck as one with staying class, but this is his second run after a six month layoff.
De Kock’s former SA Derby winner Aragosta has drawn 13 but is capable of running on.
Crimson King, the Gr3 SplashOut 2200 winner who was a close fourth in the Gr3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over 2400m, will have a lot of supporters. However, he has drawn wide in 14.
The Gr2 New Turf Carriers Western Cape Stayers winner Salvator Mundi has drawn widest of all and has never excelled at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Stablemate One Way Traffic has disappointed since his outstanding win in last season’s Vodacom 2200 race. Raiseahallelujah was a narrow second in the Lonsdale and has drawn in pole, but is under sufferance. Rockie Reef and Flying First Class are useful stayers, but are way under sufferance.
The Gr1 HKJC Champions Cup over 1800m sees 14 in the line-up including See It Again, who will have a strong chance of being named Equus Champion Three-year-old male and Equus Horse Of The Year if he can win it from draw 13.
Al Muthana is full of class and goes for a second WFA Gr 1 this season, but he has drawn widest of all. However, he is capable of a powerful finish from off the pace.
Princess Calla has been exemplary over sprints this season, but stays this trip and has an electric turn of foot. The long-striding front-running sort Dave The King is ideally distance suited and will be a threat from draw one. Zapatillas will be running fresh which often favours horses in this race running against tired July runners.
Trip Of Fortune ran on well in the Hollywoodbets Durban July, but has had a long season. Safe Passage had no luck in the July, so this could be his race. Rascallion also deserves a change of luck and is distance suited. Bartholdi is a top sprinter and is interesting running fresh over this trip.
Pomp And Power is full of class, but he is temperamental and is his own worst enemy. MK’s Pride has class and should see out the trip. Second Base is doing very well for his new yard and is a dark horse.
In the Gr1 Mercury Sprint Gimme A Prince will be hard to beat from draw five over an ideal trip. Isivunguvungu is a top class sprinter too, but has to prove he is as effective over 1200m as he is over 1000m.
William Robertson went close last year and is capable of winning this as he can eat up ground with his long stride. It is hard to see any of the others challenging these three. Sheela might do so though, because she has speed and a kick so should enjoy this around the turn Gr1.
Pearl Of Asia sprang a big surprise by winning this race two years ago and he can’t be ignored because on his day he possesses an electrifying turn of foot, although he usually needs some luck coming from last.
In the Gr1 World Pool Moment Of The Day Champion Stakes the top two-year-old male, the undefeated Lucky Lad, lines up and will likely have to use his exhilarating turn of foot, because he might well be dropped out from draw 13.
His possible chief rival Sandringham Summit is drawn even wider in 14, but came from a mile back when winning the Gr2 Durban Golden Horseshoe. The undefeated Main Defender could still be anything and is drawn well. Longsword, Ermelo and The Africa House are scopey, long-striding sorts who could earn cheques.
In the Gr1 Douglas Whyte Stakes Platina Princess has eye catching form and will be improving being by Danon Platina, but she does have a tough draw.
Secret Identity has shown class and should be running on strongly from a wide draw. Rascova finished second to the crack Mrs Geriatrix in the Gr2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper. Egyptian Mau was just behind her.
Distant Winter was fourth in the latter race and also has a shout here. Let’s Go Now is a full-sister to Bless My Stars and she still has plenty of scope for improvement. Dolcezza has some useful form and has a shout. That’s My Baby is well regarded, but does have a tough draw.